At the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, his children are likely feeling the sadness that is typical for all of us when we lose someone we love. In her book, On Death and Dying, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross first identified the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance.
Working through these feelings is easier with the support of family. And it’s evident, in recent comments made by Katherine and Germaine, that the Jackson family is rallying around the children. ‘They’re spending time with their cousins and that family love will keep them going.’
If you’re caring for your grandkids under stressful circumstances, what follows are ideas to consider as you nurture them and yourself:
It is necessary to mourn what you have lost. In divorce, it may be the dreams you had for the future. In death, the sadness about not having the loved one as a part of your life. As you work to communicate openly, all of you can feel safe enough to talk and grieve together.
Accept the changes in the family, whatever they are, even if you’re in the crossfire. Validate the children’s feelings and withhold blame regarding their parents. While you’re showing support, try not to take a particular side or excuse bad behavior. Remember that your primary concern here is to attend to the immediate concerns and needs of the children.
Protect the children from the comments of others. Whether the absent parent’s behavior stemmed from a serious emotional problem or a hunger deep inside, now you can shield the children from its impact. Focus on your relationship with them and build trust so that they’ll feel more accepted, nurtured and confident.
You may want to watch this Fox News report on the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. Need more information about positive role models as you reach for your goals as a grandparent? Sign our email list to the left of this post and download a free ebook, “Courage and Lessons Learned.”